PAUL Holleran says his Leamington side have the inner belief to reach the last 16 of the FA Trophy for only the second time in the club’s history tonight, when taking on Kettering Town (7.45pm kick-off).
After a waterlogged pitch at Latimer Park prevented play from taking place last weekend, the Brakes will now instead host the fourth-round tie at the Community Stadium – following a failed pitch inspection at Kettering’s ground earlier today.
With home advantage now residing with Leamington, and with Holleran’s men in greater form than their National League North counterparts, there are more than enough factors to suggest that the Warwickshire club have what it takes to secure their place in the next round of the national competition.
It is important to factor in, though, the fine unbeaten run of tonight’s visitors, who have only tasted defeat once in 11 matches – albeit drawing six of those fixtures during that run.
Ahead of a potential trip to Stamford AFC or Hereford in the fifth round – set to take place on Saturday, February 6 – the Brakes manager is backing his side all the way to create another standout moment in the club’s season.
“When you’ve only lost once in 15 [matches in all competitions], you feel a couple of inches taller – it breeds confidence,” said Holleran.
“Players, staff and fans are going ‘we are competing with the very best in the league here’.
“We’re 90 minutes away from the round of 16 for a second season [in the club’s history], and we want to get there again.
“Paul Cox has assembled a really good side and it’ll be a really tough game that both teams believe they can win.”
With the media team at the Community Stadium meeting the call to action after the last minute switch of venue, tonight’s clash will now be available at leamingtonfc.tv for an £8.99 fee.
As far as recent meetings are concerned, Leamington hold the upper hand considerably – having not tasted defeat in their previous ten meetings with the Poppies, winning eight of those fixtures.
Their last meeting – a 3-1 win in front of the Brakes faithful in August 2019 – featured an opening goal from ever-reliable captain Jack Edwards, another header no less, followed by a brace by former Leamington favourite Josh March either side of half-time.